nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2021‒05‒10
four papers chosen by

  1. Gender and Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments By Booth, Alison L; Nolen, Patrick
  2. The Influence of Anger on Strategic Cooperative Interactions By Sergio Alessandro Castagnetti; Sebastiano Massaro; Eugenio Proto
  3. Engaging in cognitively stimulating activities and change in cognitive function: a cross-country analysis using SHARE By Andrea Cegolon; Andrew Jenkins
  4. Self-Set Goals Are Effective Self-Regulation Tools -- Despite Goal Revision By Kaiser, Jonas P.; Koch, Alexander K; Nafziger, Julia

  1. By: Booth, Alison L; Nolen, Patrick
    Abstract: Gender differences in paid performance under competition have been found in many laboratory-based experiments, and it has been suggested that these may arise because men and women respond differently to psychological pressure in competitive environments. To explore this further, we conducted a laboratory experiment comprising 444 subjects, and measured gender differences in performance in four distinct competitive situations. These were as follows: (i) the standard tournament game where the subject competes with three other individuals and the winner takes all; (ii) an anonymized competition in which an individual competes against an imposed production target and is paid only if s/he exceeds it; (iii) a 'personified' competition where an individual competes against a target based on the previous performance of one anonymised person of unknown gender; and (iv) a 'gendered' competition where an individual competes against a target based on the previous performance of one anonymised person whose gender is known. We found that only men respond to pressure differently in each situation; women responded the same to pressure no matter the situation. Moreover, the personified target caused men to increase performance more than under an anonymized target and, when the gender of the person associated with the target was revealed, men worked even harder to outperform a woman but strived only to equal the target set by a male.
    Keywords: psychological pressure, tournament, piece rate, gender, competitive behaviour; experiment; competitive behaviour; gender; piece rate; psychological pressure; randomized experiment; tournament
    JEL: C91 C92 J16 J33 M52
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Sergio Alessandro Castagnetti; Sebastiano Massaro; Eugenio Proto
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of anger on performance and strategic cooperative interactions. In a laboratory experiment, we induced anger in participants playing an indefinite repeated Prisoner's Dilemma game against each other, showing resulting declines in performance and individual profit. We assess the dynamics of strategic cooperative decisions and behaviors, revealing that anger-induced subjects used suboptimal strategies. We further describe the underpinning mechanism of automatic emotional regulation by analyzing participants' heart rate variability indexes. Finally, we extend our findings in an online experiment with an independent sample, increasing generalizability and helping explain how anger influences participants' ways of strategizing. Altogether, our contribution advances theoretical and practical implications regarding the impact of discrete emotions on strategic outcomes.
    Keywords: anger; behavioral strategy; heart rate variability; indefinite repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma; strategic cooperative interactions
    JEL: C7 C9 D9
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Andrea Cegolon (Department of Political Science, Communication and International Relations, University of Macerata, and PhD candidate, University College London); Andrew Jenkins (Social Research Institute, University College London)
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between different types of cognitively stimulating activities (CSAs) and cognitive function in a sample of community-dwelling Europeans aged 50 and older. The data were drawn from the fourth, fifth and sixth waves of the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The cognitive activities analysed were: educational and training courses; reading books, newspapers and magazines; word or number games (such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku); and playing chess or cards. The cognitive function outcomes under investigation were memory and verbal fluency. Our longitudinal analysis of changes in cognitive abilities show that CSAs can constitute a potential source for the delay or reduction of cognitive decline, even after a short period - only 4 years - of engagement in such activities and regardless of one’s age.
    Keywords: ageing, cognitive decline, memory, verbal fluency, cognitively stimulating activities
    JEL: J14 J26 I12 I21
    Date: 2021–04–01
  4. By: Kaiser, Jonas P.; Koch, Alexander K; Nafziger, Julia
    Abstract: We test in an experiment whether and why non-binding, self-set goals are effective even though individuals can easily revise such goals. Depending on the treatment, subjects either set a goal a few days before working on an online task or right at the start of the task. In the former case, they may or may not be explicitly asked to revise their goal at the start of the task. Consistent with the hypothesis that goals are self-regulation tools, we observe that goals set before the task are larger than goals set at the start of the task. And they are effective: Subjects work more when a goal was set a few days before the task than when it was set at the start of the task. Importantly, these results arise even though subjects revise their initial goals. They do so no matter whether goal revision is made explicit or not -- suggesting that goal revision is an important factor for goal non-achievement.
    Keywords: commitment devices; goal revision; Goals; Online Experiment; Present-Biased Preferences; Real effort; Self-Control
    JEL: D03 D81 D91
    Date: 2021–01

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